MADERA CANYON, AZ (ARIZONA HIGHWAYS TV) - Nestled in the Santa Rita mountains sits the stunning Madera Canyon.
It's absolutely a hikers' paradise because it has a little bit of hiking for every level of hiking person around.
With more than 100 miles of hiking trails, there are plenty of places to enjoy the diverse wildlife and ecosystems that call this canyon home.
There's a number of wild animals that inhabit Madera Canyon. They have everything from mountain lions to black bears to the rare coatimundi. It's one of the few places in North America where you can find all four species of skunk in one place.
Luis Cavo is an avid hiker and knows the canyon well. He explains that the uniqueness of the area is because Madera Canyon is a sky island. "A sky island is a mountain surrounded by a valley, and even though it's a desert, the climate in the sky island is wetter, and allows all kinds of species to live together, especially birds." It's also known as a mecca for birdwatchers.
Cavo says hikers love the canyon for its variety of scenery: dense forests lead to open grasslands and a mountainside with gentle waterfalls.
The well-maintained trails make it easy to enjoy your surroundings. It's virtually impossible to get lost while hiking Madera Canyon. And you can find serenity in the canyon. You can hike a trail without seeing a single person.
"Well, I think what most people take away from this place when they're hiking here, besides the uniqueness of it is, is that this place has been well-preserved. It's not like many of the places in southern Arizona that have been touristed-up already," said Cavo.
So if you want to visit one of the most unusual places on earth, Madera Canyon should definitely be on your list!